Oh What fun it is to try ...
February 28, 2014
Explorations, investigations, trials and errors, mistakes made into something different ... it's all part of learning and doing, and for me, a part of what I like to do best.
That is what I do when I am stuck ... I need to be working on a piece, but I don't know what direction I want it to take. I did 1/3 of it, and then got to the point that I didn't know where I wanted the piece to go. So I left it. But to get myself going, I start working on small or smallish projects. Anything to get the creative ideas flowing again. And while I do that, which usually consists of quilting very tightly every 1/8" in vertical or horizontal lines (which is kind of boring actually), I have a lot of time to think, because I really do not need to concentrate too much in what it is that I am doing. Just a very soothing back and forth and back and forth.
So last week I found myself starting a new wholecloth piece; just because I am still stuck on this larger piece I need to work on. I went to the hand-dyed fabric bin and rummaged around - well, it's quite tidy actually - but I still looked at quite a few different pieces of fabrics and finally settled on one of the black and grey ones from my last dyeing session. It is quite lovely actually, as it is quite dark on one side and quite light on the other. Threaded the machine, changed feet, lower the feed dogs, raised the feed dogs again, as I decided to quilt it vertically with the feed dogs up instead of all free motion and off I went. And my mind went with it ... and started thinking about all the products I had purchased at the Kensington Art Store when they had the sale before they moved. I spent a lot - and I mean A LOT - of money - good thing that it was 30% off! Some of these items were right by my elbow, staring at me, so I decided to give them a try: mainly, metal leaf, and metal leaf adhesive.
These are the results, which hopefully will develop into new pieces of work:
This is the first one I tried. The fabric was already quilted so I used the low tack masking tape to mask the squares and strips and applied the glue right on the fabric. Let it dry, which took about 20 minutes, and applied the metal foil. This is real metal foil, very thin squares of metal - gold in this case (although not real gold) that once applied, it stays in place. You have to clean all the extra little bits, which tend to make a mess, so I had metal foil all over. It is a good idea to use a stiffer brush to carefully brush away all the extra bits over a garbage can. The stuff still flies all over, so then you can use a sticky roller brush to get all the bits and pieces off the floor and carpet and your clothes. Don't get me wrong, despite the mess, I love the stuff so if a few bits of gold or silver here and there are the price to pay ... I'm all for it.
Point to make: the fabric is quite absorbent, so you need to seal it first; I used gel medium. So the steps are: Gel medium, let dy, apply the metal leaf adhesive, let dry; apply the metal leaf and adhere properly; wait a few minutes and using a brush carefully remove any extra bits. You can always reapply if needed. Once that is done, you can seal it with a special sealant. I used special sealant on one, and on the silver one - below, I used gel medium to seal it.
OK, back to the first piece: gold metal leaf on, I wanted to see what would happen if I applied a transfer using ATP (artist transfer paper) on top. It worked; although there was quite a difference between the transfer on the fabric and the transfer on the gold which I was not sure I liked. I then printed the same design on a sheet of polyester organza, cut it out, and very carefully applied it on top of the original transfer with gel medium. It made it a bit more opaque, although you can still see the difference. I kind of like it, though. What to you think?
The feathers are a screen, and it's screen printed with Jacquard Screen Print Paint in copper, and metal black. On the left feather, I used a metal leaf marker to paint copper on top of the screen, following exactly the same lines. You can't see that, because I didn't really care for the results so I applied the metal leaf glue carefully and then copper leaf. The other two feathers are left with the screen as originally planned. I may embroider on one of them, but have not decided yet to do that. Remember, these are explorations ... this may be all that is accomplished for this one.
Third piece - still in progress:
I started this one while quilting the larger piece to see if I could quilt a feather on one side (I always think that quilting a feather will make the quilting go faster and forget that then I need to match all those straight lines to the feather lines). Oh well, all in the name of art. Anyway, as I was saying, I quilting this smaller piece and added the feather, and then applied silver leaf to it. There are places where I actually gone back and touched up the leaf three times. You can say I am a bit anal about the shapes reading really nice and rounded!
Anyway, this is it for this installment of the blog. Let me know what you think of these pieces. In the meantime, stay warm and keep quilting.
On naming your work
January 24, 2014
It's Friday! Yeah ... quite an interesting week, I might say ...
I needed to think of a name for the small yellow quilt below with the crow. I found a name I liked, but I thoguht it would be more suited to the other piece of work I had finished. So I came up with a compromise. As the quilts where not labelled yet, I decided to switch their names.
So now this one above is called "Some day the rains will fall". See my last post on this piece. It is a similar smaller version of the quilt below.
This one is now called "Perched, and sat and nothing more" from "Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. And a fitting name it is, as the crow was just sitting there when I found him, and seemed to be posing waiting for me to take photos!
This one is 18" x 24" if I am not mistaken, and as you can see (I know I've shown it before), it is fully finished and mounted with the plexiglass applied with screws. There is also some gold paint applied between the quilting on the bottom part. The paper is from an old book and it has been applied with Gel medium with a layer of self-levelling medium on top.
Drop me a note and let me know whether you find it difficult to name your quilt, or if it comes easy to you ...
In the meantime, I hope you are enjoying the mild weather here in Calgary - if you live in the area. I wish you happy quilting in the days ahead!
January 08, 2014
A few weeks ago I purchased a new book called "Corvus - A life with birds" by Esther Woolfson. It sounded interesting as it talks about her life with birds after her daughter rescued a fledgeling rook. I don't know why I like crows and rooks and ravens so much, but I do. I find them interesting and love to see how they interact. The other day I was outside Home Depot heading for my car; right in front of it, there were two huge crows, eating some bits of dead animal. I was so sorry I didn't even have my phone to take a picture!
My work has featured crows lately, and this last piece I worked on over the weekend has one done with a photo transfer on ATP. I wanted to see what it would look like on that background color, as I have a larger piece in mind in those colors. My last post had photos of some of the fabrics and the threads. The piece is fully quilted now, all 15 x 62" of it.
But this small piece is 10" x 10" and ready to be mounted.
And a detail of the hand-embroidery at the top:
Don't have a name for it yet ... I'll have to come up with something soon. If you think of a good one, leave me a comment. If I pick yours, you'll get a surprise in the mail, so leave an email so I can contact you ...
In the meantime, keep quilting.
Happy New Year
January 02, 2014
Happy New Year. We bid good-bye to 2013 and are on the second day of 2014. The year stretches in front of us like a blank canvas, full of possibilities. I hope everyone's 2014 is a good one, with lots of inspiration, creative endeavours and happy moments.
I was quite busy over the holidays; the kids were home for a few days, and the house had once again that "lived-in" feeling: stuff everywhere, noise, laughter. But now things are back to normal; the kids are gone, the house is once again in order :) and I am back at work.
I had a good first day of the year yesterday ... I went into my studio and reorganized: got rid of an extra table that I had set up for a friend to sew on a looong while back. I never got rid of it, and of course, it gave me a good excuse to pile stuff on it. So now I have more "light", more space and less clutter. The fabric on top of the counter is in bins, the tools put away, and the sewing table cleared. We'll see how long it lasts!
But I did get some sewing in. Sabrina worked on a quilt and finished the top and backing before she left on the 30th, so now I need to take it to get it quilted.
And I worked on some of my challenge pieces. This is one that I had wanted to try for a while, now it is finished - at least the top, and has the batting and backing on it - ready for the quilting (which I haven't yet decided on). It is going to be 24" x 72", so quite long and skinny.
The photo is not the best, but it gives you an idea of what it looks like. This is one of the photos I took just outside Halifax, early in the morning and it was printed in the UK by Fingerprints, Laura Kemshall's company. The fabric handles beautifully as it is printed with dyes so it is very soft. The rest of the fabric in the quilt is hand-dyed by me. Yards and yards of fabric in different tones of greys.
Yesterday I also finished a smaller 12" x 12" piece, still unnamed. I will post photos of it later on in the week so you can see it.
I decided to start work on the 36" x 36" piece, it is goind to be all in greays, with some of the pebble photos in it. And finally, I continued work on the 24" x 24" piece that I had started a while ago and got stuck without quite knowing what direction it needed to take. Yesterday, I decided to leap and did something! :) I will post a photo once it is finished and mounted.
In the afternoon I went to get the boards from the garage to paint them, so as to have them ready when I need them to mount the pieces. And of course I couldn't resist painting a skinny 12" x 48" board. Last night on a whim I started working on this new piece; it is going to be a vertical 12" x 48", quite long and skinny. Here's a photo I took of one section, with the threads I will be using for quilting it. It pleases me when things fall into place. You know what I mean? This year in Houston I looked for threads I did not have, and ended up buying a couple of spools by Superior in golds, not knowing exactly what I was going to use them for. Yesterday afternoon I took the bag of threads I purchased (it was still exactly the way it was when I unpacked it), and looked at it and felt very pleased, as the threads were perfect! It was as if I had known I was going to need them. I even had the right needles! What do you think?
And here's a photo of the fabric I am using. I had ordered 100 yards of fabric for dyeing, and at a certain point when I unrolled it, I found this joint. I thought it would look interesting so I dyed it at the same time as the rest of the fabric, and figured I would use it some day. Well, the day has come. I love the way it looks.
I did some quilting last night, while listening to some music. I am hoping to finish the quilting today. It is quilted every 1/8" in straight lines, and I am actually using a regular foot, instead of the free motion quilting foot. Quite interesting. As the piece is not too wide - about 15" - it works well. It will eventually get all trimmed to 12" x 48" and will befinished with a non-mitered facing; this works just fine as it gets glued to the wooden board. I felt quite productive ... .New Year ... new energy ...
Well, this is all for me for this installment. I wish everyone a successful year. And above all, keep quilting!
December 18, 2013
There is snow falling once again in Calgary, and the temperature has dropped to -12 from -4 in the past few hours. It is supposed to be -18 by the time we leave work today with a wind chill factor of -27. That's to get us in the spirit!
Most of the presents are bought, still to be wrapped, the tree is up, the lights are twinkling ... and I am trying to be productive and finish some of my pieces for the challenge, as the due date is fast approaching - February!
So below is a photo of a piece I finally finished. If you have been following my blog (and apologies for not blogging as much as I should), you would recognize it, as this piece - still unnamed - sat pinned on my design wall for a while. But ... finally I decided what I wanted to do with it and here it is, in all its glory!
This was an odd piece that I made; thus, I never paid too much attention when I was putting it together. As a result, it's an odd measurement; I am not sure if I will be able to have it mounted. But regardless, I am quite happy with it. Below is a detail showing the vintage Chinese sequins that I sewed on.
The next piece is done - still unnamed - but finished finally. Long hours putting all those french knots in. And then I added some silver beads to make it sparkle a bit. What do you think? The footsteps were done with screen printing using a metallic fabric paint.
You can't really tell that there's writing on the top right corner unless you get close to it. It was achieved by adding a few layers of printed organza. I like the effect it gives, very subtle.
Well, this is it for today. I didn't want you to think I had forgotten you ... it's just been a busy season. I have a few more projects on my mind and I still have one or two more pieces to do for the challenge. The biggest one being a 36" x 36" (although I think I will start on the one I want to make which is 24" x 48"). I will keep you posted on the progress of those two, plus a smaller one I started on Sunday at 14" x 14" (to be trimmed to 12" x 12" possibly).
I will blog before Christmas, but in the meantime, I wish you all a few good days leading into it. Enjoy!
And keep quilting!